A Dakota County Technical College (DCTC) employee says he was let go after reporting the athletic department for treating men’s and women’s teams unequally and mismanaging department funds.
Cameron Stoltz, the Rosemount college’s former athletic coordinator, filed a whistleblower lawsuit against the college and Minnesota State, formerly known as the Minnesota State Colleges and University (MnSCU) system. The suit alleges retaliation and breach of contract, claiming the school refused to pay him in full and gradually cut his coaching and teaching responsibilities, eventually replacing him.
Stoltz alleged that men’s teams at DCTC had better facilities and bigger budgets than women’s teams and that the school failed to appoint a coordinator to supervise compliance with Title IX, the federal law prohibiting sex discrimination in education. Both claims are Title IX violations. As a result of those complaints, the Office for Civil Rights is now investigating the college, according to a letter from the U.S. Department of Education.
“We do feel that we have a strong case,” said Daniel Olson, Stoltz’s attorney. “The significance of this case is fairness.”
Neither Marlo Miller, spokeswoman for DCTC, nor Kathryn Iverson Landrum, the attorney representing the college, commented on the case.
“We will continue to remain focused on providing the best education we can for our students,” Miller said.
Now employed by the Minnesota Youth Soccer Association, Stoltz seeks back wages and damages in the lawsuit, filed in Ramsey County District Court in June.
While Stoltz’s initial complaints were about gender equity, he noticed further federal violations at DCTC over time, according to the complaint. He alleges that student athletes were getting federal work-study money for working at a coach’s private business and that the coach was committing credit card fraud.
Administrators repeatedly ignored Stoltz when he spoke up, the complaint said, except when he reported the credit card fraud. In that instance, the coach’s card was taken away and he was later fired.
Minnesota State conducted its own investigation into Stoltz’s claims and released a report in 2013 confirming many of his allegations, the complaint said.
DCTC has since appointed a coordinator to handle Title IX issues, according to their website.
Retaliation by employers “happens more often than we think, just like discrimination, because often the victim doesn’t come forward,” said David Allen Larson, an employment law professor at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.
The number of cases alleging retaliation has grown in recent years, Larson said.
The lawsuit comes during a period of turmoil for DCTC President Tim Wynes, who also leads Inver Hills Community College. In January, the faculty union at Inver Hills Community College voted no confidence in Wynes. An Inver Hills instructor is also suing Wynes, claiming Wynes retaliated against him for helping to spearhead the no confidence vote.
Stoltz was hired to coach DCTC women’s soccer in 2002. He launched the men’s soccer program the next year and was soon coaching both teams. In 2005, he helped create the women’s softball program. In 2008, he was promoted to athletics coordinator. In 2015, his coordinator responsibilities were taken away, and this year his coaching contract was not renewed.
Landrum filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in mid-July. She also sought to move the trial to Dakota County, where DCTC is located. Last week, a judge ruled that the trial will proceed in Ramsey County as planned.